Archives for October 2007


Ducati Museum and Factory Tour – My Review

Europe offers many cultural opportunities, world class art galleries, ancient buildings and historic settings but occasionally you just need the sights, sounds and smells of motor sports. I satisfied that need during our Grand European Adventure with a tour of the Ducati Factory and Museum in Bologna, Italy.

Factory Tour

Our tour started in the cafeteria where you can grab an espresso with the workers before your guide gathers you for a briefing. As you are entering a working factory, there is the necessary formality of a signing a waiver but I saw no danger unless you took a photo (more on that soon).

The groups are small at no more than ten people except Saturday when they take larger groups of up to 40 and the information provided in English. Ducati motorcycles are built on a moving assembly line with only two pair of hands responsible for each bike, and you are guided through the whole process.

Photography is strictly forbidden in the factory, a German tourist in our group got caught by our steely-eyed guide and received the most fierce tongue-lashing from her. He only managed to stay on the tour by the his fingernails, it is not worth the grief for a cheap illicit photograph.

Factory Highlights

We were lucky enough to be there the day after the Limited Edition Paul Smart 1000 motorcycles started production, and the first examples sat proudly in the shipping room.

As you exit the production floor, you are permitted to gaze through a window at a corridor filled with factory racing engines and closed door that hides the secrets of Ducati racing success. I could feel the spirit of Fabio Taglioni with me.

Ducati Museum

The factory tour is interesting but the museum is fantastic, focussed on Ducati’s racing pedigree with examples of every major Ducati race bike. Mike Hailwood’s Ilse of Mann NCR and Paul Smart’s Imola 750 classic have pride of place, probably the two most iconic motorcycles ever built. Then there are the superbikes, every World Champion is represented here; Troy Corser, Troy Bayliss, Raymond Roche and Doug Polen to name a few of the famous riders for Ducati and soon the bike of MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner will join them there.
Marco Lucchinelli Ducati 750F1

You can spend hours here, photography is permitted and the bikes are beautifully maintained. Your guide provides an introduction to the history but then you are on your own and free to wander in wonder amongst the machinery. The gift shop sells everything a Ducati aficionado needs except a motorcycle and I’m sure if you ask something could be arranged.


You must book ahead, and I recommend at least four weeks ahead of your intended visit date.

Book your tour by phone, fax or email:
Phone (from 10:00 am until 11:00 am and from 14:00 pm until 16:00 pm): +39 051 6413343
Fax: +39 051 6413113

Guided tours are offered Monday through Friday (for groups of up to 10 visitors) at the following times:

1st tour at 11:00 am
2nd tour at 4:00 pm

Saturday only (for larger groups of up to 40 people):
Continuous tours from 9:30 am until 1:00 pm

Sunday: Closed

Closed also during Easter vacations, summer break (July 29th to August 26th), October 4th, November 1st-3rd, Christmas vacations (from December 23rd to January 7th), and on all Italian public or bank holidays.

Taking photographs is allowed in the museum but not inside the factory.

Ducati Motor Holding SpA,
Via Ducati 3,
40132 Bologna, Italy

Best of all, entrance is free. How can you say no to that.


Carnival of Cities – Get your Submissions in Today

Do not forget to submit your best article on your favourite city to this week’s Carnival of Cities that I am hosting here on Monday Oct, 8th.

One entry per blog, and keep it family friendly please. Submit your post with this form.

I look forward to reading your submissions.


Win a Prize with our First Competition

To celebrate the Major League Baseball Playoffs, Exit Row Seat is running our first competition. Baseball constantly drove my travel in the United States (OK, I’m a little obsessed) taking me to Chicago, New York, Southern California and the ultimate baseball trip to Cooperstown to visit the Hall of Fame. Where has baseball taken you over the years, a memorable trip to the Little League World Series or a pilgrimage to Fenway Park? I want to hear about the journey, and why it was special.

How to Enter

Cooperstown, New York

Write a short story about your most memorable baseball vacation/trip, and email it to (write Baseball Competition in the Title).

Limit your prose to less than 300 words.

It’s that simple.

Competition Rules

Entries close after the last out of the 2008 World Series, and a winning entry selected at random to win the prize.

All entries will be published at Exit Row Seat throughout the Competition.

You retain the rights to your article but grant Exit Row Seat a non-exclusive right to publish the article here.

No profanity or adult themes.

You may add your website url to the article but spam or overt commercial entries will be rejected.

The Prize

Over 100 Baseball Cards hand selected from my personal collection including limited editions and game used cards.

Over to you, send me your baseball stories today.


Carnival of Cities gets an Exit Row Seat Next Week

Exit Row Seat is hosting the Carnival of Cities on Monday, October 8th, 2007.

Submit your best recent post about any aspect of one city using this form on Blog Carnival. Tell us about the city on only locals know, the fabulous festival that happens each year or where to find the best food and drink.

Deadline is 2 p.m. Eastern, Sunday October 7th, 2007.

Would you like to host a future Carnival of Cities, read the guidelines and submit your site for consideration.


Tracks Through Australia – Maleny to Mapleton

Stopped at the roadside I can hear the low rumble growing through the hills like thunder burbling softly in the distance. As it draws nearer the rumble is transformed into a roar and the road warriors appear around the bend, knees scraping along the tarmac, heads tilted into the turn they zip past and disappear into the hills. On any fine Queensland weekend, and there a lot of them, you find motorcyclists and country craft fans hugging the road between Maleny and Mapleton above the Sunshine Coast.

Anyone who rides a motorcycle knows that the riding is best in the twisties, and the Maleny road to Mapleton links together a series of corners that I never grow tired of riding. Best if all, there are plenty shops and cafes along the way to keep your pillion happy and a great pub for lunch at Mapleton.

For a romantic weekend, book a room at one of the local inns and combine a exploration of the area with the excitement of Australia Zoo. Do it on a motorcycle and you have one of my perfect weekend getaways.

Image Flat from Kanyana Park Lookout, Queensland. 22 June 2007.

Things to Do

Hike the 1.3 kilometre Wompoo circuit through cool rainforest of Mapleton Falls National Park.

A Devonshire Tea at one of the numerous cafes along the route.

Scour the local galleries for your next art acquisition or handy piece of pottery.

Lunch at the Mapleton pub. Good hearty meals and Queensland’s best beer.

Things to See

The magnificent flora and fauna of the rainforest parks.

Fantastic panoramas over the Sunshine Coast from every vantage point.

The impromptu concourse d’elegance of motorcycles outside the Mapleton Pub. (Look but do not touch, their owners are watching from the veranda.)

Photo borrowed from Jigg’s Photostream. (CC: Some Rights Reserved)